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Sad Story Of Environmental Injustice In Bungoma

Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati

Residents of Lumora village in Bumula, Bungoma county are not a happy lot.

The county government converted a section of the village into a dumping site. Though some people consider a dumpsite a potential garbage to gold story, the dirty heap of rubbish that originates mostly from Bungoma Town has brought more misery to this small village.

The county government of Bungoma under the then Governor Ken Lusaka started dumping garbage in the area in 2016, since then the garbage has grown into a huge heap attracting all manner of disease-causing vermins.

Residents complain of too many flies, malaria causing mosquitoes and ‘deadly’ stench.

Both humans and animals have suffered this unplanned terrorist activity. According to KTN News, a teacher residing in that village suffered complications during pregnancy that led to the loss of her child.

She suffered loss of appetite due to the stench that comes from the dumpsite and then miscarried.

School-going children in the village also find it difficult to study as their night-revision sessions are interrupted by the annoying sounds and bites of mosquitoes.

‘Our kids  cannot study at night, because of mosquitoes. This area is full of mosquitoes that one cannot even concentrate on what they are doing when night falls’, another woman complained.

Residents near the dumpsite

Shut it Down

Most residents have supported the efforts of shutting down or relocation of the dumpsite. However, attempts to do this have been met with threats from the authorities and a case in court filed by environmental activist John Wekesa has unnecessarily taken too long.

They have reported the illegal dumpsite to all the relevant authorities but all that has ever been done was a visit by the deputy governor to the area who promised action but since then, things have remained the way they were.

Even worse, is that the heap of garbage continues to rise.

A source told that the land belonged to a man who died leaving no one behind to inherit his property, this is how the county government, while looking for a dumpsite, saw it easy to grab that piece of land.

The water that is reported to be from a sewage is actually from a water source on the land, and having the dumpsite on top of the water source has added more problems for the villagers. Livestock numbers have reduced due to animals confusing plastic bags for food.

Residents near the dumpsite

‘The county government is not very humane. They have killed us and our children’, laments another villager

Both humans and animals have suffered poor health as the stench and plastic garbage from the area continue to pile.

Another resident, Mzee Simiyu who suffered from both Malaria and diarrhea, directly linked to the dumpsite says that livestock cannot survive in such an environment.

The residents’ please have fallen on deaf ears, their only hope now is the court case.

The World of dumpsites

According to WasteAid organization, a UK charity (non-profit), set up by waste management professionals to share practical and low-cost waste management know-how with communities in low-income countries, ‘dumpsites are a global health and environmental emergency’

More than 750 people died because of poor waste management at dumpsites in the first half of 2016 alone. Dumpsites receive roughly 40% of the world’s waste and serve 3-4 billion people.

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